Seeing that time is incredibly precious for writing endeavors, let’s just get going!
In 1 Samuel 9, we see Saul chosen to be the new (and first) king of Israel. He goes looking for his Father’s lost donkeys (9:1-4), decides to inquire of a seer (9:5-10), finds out about the seer (9:11-14 – vs. 13 is very interesting in the light of what happened in chapter 15), encounters Samuel and is honored by him (9:15-26), and then waits with Samuel to hear what God has to say to him (9:27).
In 1 Samuel 10, we see what Samuel says to Saul. Saul is anointed by Samuel (10:1) and told of three signs that will occur to show that God is with him (10:2-8). The minute Saul goes to leave Samuel, God “gave him another” heart (10:9). Also, the first and second signs occurred but nothing is said about the details (10:9). Then, at Gibeah, Saul prophesies (10:10-13). After that, Saul goes home and tells his father that he couldn’t find the donkeys and went to Samuel for help (10:14). Saul’s father asks about Samuel (10:15) and Saul tells his father about the donkeys but not his anointing as the king of Israel (10:15-16 – it’s interesting how we see Saul’s fearfulness manifesting immediately, and that with someone he should trust more than anyone).
Shortly after, Samuel calls together the people at Mizpah and informs the people that even though they’ve rebelliously asked God for a king, God is going to give them one (10:18-19). Samuel divides all the tribes and families by lots in order for God to unveil Saul as king but Saul could not be found (10:20-21). The Lord then revealed his location (10:22) and he was found and presented to the people (10:23-24). Then Samuel talked about the rights and duties of the king, writing those things down for posterity (which would be an example of a prophet writing noncanonical literature), and sent everyone home (10:25).
1 Sam. 10:26 says “Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched” and then is followed by verse 27:
But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.
Now many things jumped out at me from the passage, but 10:27 jumped out the most. Seeing that God gave Saul “another heart” in 10:9, we see that God did the same thing to the valiant men in 10:26. I don’t think it’s talking about a salvific change of heart (i.e. a regenerate heart), but rather a divinely driven change of attitude (I admit that I suspect Saul wasn’t actually a believer, but that’s a whole other blog post…I mean, book. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, along with a few dozen other scriptures, lead me to that conclusion). That change of attitude contrasts wildly with what we see of Saul in the future, and shows the unavoidable affect of the Spirit of God on the heart of any man.
Saul was scorned by “worthless fellows” and when he was publicly insulted on his coronation day, “he held his peace.” This same Saul was the guy who spent years of his life trying to kill David, his most trusted ally, on the basis of what was clearly a crazed conspiracy theory (and starting shortly after David won several military victories for him – 1 Sam. 19:1-10). This is the same Saul who, only 4 chapters later, almost put his own son to death for the capital crime of eating some honey (1 Sam. 14:24-46). This is the same Saul who wiped out a whole town and murdered 85 priests, including the high priest, because he heard that they had helped David (1 Sam. 22:11-19). This is utterly ironic because he refused to kill the Amalekites (the enemies of Israel) when the Lord commanded it (1 Sam. 15:1-9) but gladly slaughtered 12 minivans worth of his priests.
This is the same Saul who didn’t hold his peace on anything ever again.
Lots of lessons here; more than I can possibly mention in a few words.
Still, I thought of two things:
1. The Lord is the one who makes the differences in attitude and outcome, even with one’s enemies. When we have people in our lives who make them difficult or downright horrible, we often forget to pray that the Lord would change their hearts. Sure, we pray for their salvation (and we never stop doing that), but we can also pray for their attitudes. It makes a job far easier when the guy who hates you stops hating you.
2. Christians should always have gracious hearts. We should always be the ones who hold our peace. That doesn’t mean that we’re mutes, but it does mean that we don’t “put people in their place,” even when they deserve it (and notice how the Lord referred to those men as “worthless”). In other words:
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Eph. 4:29-32
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “still working on James 1:26” Unger